Society & Partner Zone Issue 19, Open Access, Interviews

What our Partners Say

Scientific output from Latin American countries has grown significantly in the last decade. With a goal for spending on science and technology to reach 2% of GDP by 2020, Brazil presents the greatest opportunity of all Latin American countries.

Society Zone in an interview with...

Society & Partner Zone spoke with Professor Pedro Neves, President of Entomological Society of Brazil (Sociedade Entomológica do Brasil – SEB) and Dr Ronald Shellard, Vice-President of Brazilian Physical Society (Sociedade Brasileira de Fisica – SBF) to learn more about their work.

Can you tell us a little about the work of your Societies?

Neves: SEB is a scientific society that brings together teachers, researchers, students and lovers of entomology. Brazil’s biodiversity means it has one of the highest numbers of insect species in the world so part of our work involves promoting the study and conservation of these species. Additionally, given Brazil’s large agricultural sector, pest control and applied research in this field is particularly important so economic entomology is also a key focus for SEB members.

Shellard: The society brings together Brazilian physics professors, students, and other physicists with the aim of improving the education of physics at all levels and to stimulate research in physics in Brazil. We organize about 5 Annual Meetings of the different branches of Physics, which usually attract around 4,000 people.

What were the society’s key achievements in 2012?

Neves: SEB’s main achievements in 2012 were its bi-annual congress (Brazilian Congress of Entomology), which attracted approximately 2,000 participants, and the start of our partnership with Springer.

Shellard: In 2012, we carried out a study - “A Física e o desenvolvimento nacional” (trad: Physics and National Development) – to identify where Brazilian physicists are working, and what their main areas of concern are in relation to their field. That’s given us a good picture of the geographical distribution of Brazilian physicists – and therefore Brazilian physics – as well as helping us capture information such as gender and age of the physicists. We also launched a program called the Latin American Program for Physics aimed at giving support to countries where physics is still a developing science, and we have an ongoing program of cooperation with the American APS to support mobility of physicists between USA-Brazil.

Springer publishes the journal Neotropical Entomology on behalf of SEB and Brazilian Journal of Physics on behalf of SFB. What lead to your decision to publish with Springer?

Neves: Springer’s size, structure and professionalism meant that we’d be able to increase the international visibility of our publications as well as our society. By association, we’d also raise the profile of Brazilian entomology as a whole. Springer’s ability to help us explore different publishing models, such as open access, was also of interest to us and helped to confirm our decision. We’ve benefited from increased distribution of our publications and greater awareness of Brazilian research internationally. The partnership has also meant that SEB’s shareholders have access to Springer's publications.

Shellard: Springer offers the journal better visibility as well as tools to manage the submission, evaluation and publication of articles. We are very happy with this partnership. We are slowly improving the quality of published material in the magazine and we see this as a strong indication of the importance of Brazilian physics for the international community. For example, we used to reject nearly 90% of the articles we received but now we are attracting good quality research.

Finally, what do you think are the key challenges and emerging trends for publishing research in your fields? How do these affect Brazilian researchers in particular?

Neves: The main challenges are making the research available and accessible via numerous distribution channels so that young entomologists can quickly access the information they need. Another factor is how to solve the problem of providing open access to research that, on the whole, is generated using public funding. These are particular challenges for Brazil. Our government is keen to foster scientific research and has been increasing resources over the last decade to support this objective. As a result, we have seen higher numbers of undergraduate courses in entomology and greater output of entomology-related research. Now we need to make this information available to everyone with an interest in the subject, to continue the good work!

Shellard: Clearly there is a strong movement towards Open Access publishing and we are very sympathetic to the concept. But another trend is that the number of physics journals available is shrinking and the areas in which they publish are becoming more and more similar. That gives reason for concern as it’s the diversity of research that broadens developments in physics. For example, the study of physics is universal but the cultural differences of physicists’ leads to different emphasis of topics of importance and even the way problems are tackled. By keeping BJP as a separate publication, and resisting merging it with other larger publications, we hope that we can still retain some of this diversity and encourage authors across nationalities to publish with us.

Society & Partner Zone thanks Professor Neves and Dr Shellard for these interviews.

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